“…it must be said no one won . We were both totally shut down by the OB today.”
The words of the Scottish Defence League, a miniscule group of about forty who had English associates bussed up from England and boosted their numbers to around 200. A group that can be easily defeated in an urban environment should the correct tactics be deployed by the quoted figure of 400 that turned up to counter-demonstrate their presence in the city.
Working with Unite Against Fascism has never been good. There was no adrenaline pumping victory this time around despite information from scouts around the city flooding in as we stood on the Mound from around 10 am. Activists wanted to get moving and start their work but speeches began around 10:30 and carried on for another two hours. We proceeded to march on the designated route and came across a designated protest area. Voices of disapproval came from anti-fascist supporters. What lay ahead of us was a designasted protest area with four hours of singalonga UAF action giving people sore throats shouting rather than actually doing some groundwork or re-education. We trust this group because they purport to be comrades and many of their activists are politically sound on a daily basis but it is the structure of the organisation and those who operate it that needs to be questioned directly. People who turn up at demonstrations and feel that the statement “I’m an elected and salaried member of UAF” gives them authority of action is as deluded as those who are willing to be marched into a police cordon, excusing those that do this for fear of their own safety. Such people must be removed from leadership and expelled for collaboration. They are there to do what they are paid to do and nothing more. People who are sucking up time on a podium and are employing delaying tactics when time is of the essence. They have no desire nor will to take on the task in hand.
The main problem we face with the EDL and SDL is that they are in fact a bunch of hooligans who charge about from town to town causing a ruckus. With the arrival of anti-semitism in the form of the Infidels of Britain and their secret nationalist demonstration “In The North” on the 8th of October we have the next generation of the National Front being born as the BNP goes bankrupt. These people need to be faced directly and have their political footing questioned, sternly and not from a distance of 400 yards inside a police pen. Many are young and it is education where any serious anti-fascist has to start thinking about their community,, another thing the UAF will not do to a competent level. Edinburgh and Glasgow are two very different cities when it comes to education. I am a weedjie and Glasgow has a vibrant anti-fascist scene currently with much street art around anti-fascism, regular anti-racist football tournaments, excellent work from community organisations for refugees, a fine campaign against public sector cuts and an on-going celebration of voluntary resistance to fascism in Spain. In fact, on the very day the SDL took to the streets of Edinburgh, people in Glasgow held a commemoration ceremony for those who fought fascism in Spain.
Meanwhile in Edinburgh Hibs CCS casuals were split between the old and the young. Youngsters were largely drawn towards the SDL demonstration whilst older hands decided to stand against fascism. I spoke to a Hibs fan who was a member of the James Connolly Society. He spoke with despair that youngsters were not interested in the Connolly. When this man is a radical who fought for social justice until his murder. A man who should be celebrated and revered by all of Edinburgh as an example of what a man from Leith can achieve if he struggles hard enough. The Wakes, a band from Glasgow, who preserve his name in the song James Connolly’s Ghost. If Hibs fans don’t wake up to the treasure they own their club could end up with the blasphemy of the Celtic Cross being abused as a fascist standard. Meanwhile musically Edinburgh has some good tunes Oi Polloi’s “Bash The Fash” is a great tune that has rung around Edinburgh’s punk scene for a while but the punk scene did not bring as much energy as it has on previous occasions to this demonstration. Numbers were poor and many that turned out bemoaned the plastic punks who are happy to wear ANTIFA symbols at a punk gig but are unwilling to take those same politics to the street.
So with small numbers, bored to the brink of death by self-promoting speeches and aware of the police kettle that awaited them, a break-off group of around 40 took to the streets to attempt to get to the SDL: at the very least to make them aware of our presence. with the streets swamped with police this was like attacking a glass window with a bee-sting. Those inside could see and hear us banging on the pane. They got the message but that was about it as everyone remained under police escort. Let us work towards a time when there is not such apathy and inaction on display in the face of hatred. Together.
As you may have heard, despite the rejection of their initial application for a march by Edinburgh City Council, the SDL are planning a static demonstraton on Saturday in Edinburgh. They have been advertising widely amongst the EDL and there has been serious response with hundreds coming if you look at the several pages they are using to promote it.
There has been politcal factionalism within the EDL and groups calling themselves North West Infidels and North East Infidels have been allying themselves with the SDL. These are groups that promote National Front and Stormfront approved ideals and are recieving a more enthused response from fascists on Stormfront than the mixed response the EDL recieved. With the recent arrest of EDL posterboy Tommy Robinson/Stephen Yaxley Lennon there may well be a power struggle on the horizon. This grouping, calling themselves Infidels of Britain, are looking to organise a large National Front style demo in the north of England on the 8th October, using Enoch Powell as their posterboy. It appears that Edinburgh is a strong part of the build up for a grouping that purports links with Nazi Nick Greger, Paul Ray and their Order 777. Men who had direct contact with Anders Breivik before his act of terrorism in Oslo.
In response Edinburgh Anti-Fascist Alliance have called on anti-fascists to meet at the foot of the Mound at 11 am on Saturday the 10th of September to show our solidarity against any fascist threat. Fascism and its products are not welcome on our streets. This is the eve of September 11th an anniversary when thousands died in the USA in an act of callous terrorism. It should not be hijacked by those who wish to profit from vengeance with tyranny. It is also the eve of the anniversary of the military coup d’etat of Augusto Pinochet in Chile. A military intervention that led to the “disappearance” of 40,000 people. Today in Chile students protesting education cuts face tear gas, sewage/water cannon and police brutality on even the smallest demonstration. On Sunday they will also remember their 9/11. Let us take heed from their example and remember the innocents and their families and their struggle for social and criminal justice.
Let us take to the streets, together and say loudly to those who wish to divide us and take our critical eye off the government.
Saturday 10th September, 11am at the foot of the Mound near the National Gallery.
Anti-fascists are set to take to the streets this weekend to show their opposition to the Scottish Defence League, as the rump organisation attempts to hold a demonstration ‘against militant Islam’ in Irvine.
This is the SDL’s second Ayrshire outing, following on from Kilmarnock last June, when around 50 members of the SDL, EDL and neo-Nazis from the ‘British Freedom Fighters’ paraded through the town under police protection. It’s understood that the SDL have once again been in negotiations with Strathclyde Police over this Saturday’s demo.
This Saturday, local trade unionists and anti-fascists have called a peaceful counter-protest, assembling from 10.15am at the main entrance to the Bridgegate shopping centre.
The Scottish Anti-Fascist Alliance urges viligance to any anti-fascists travelling to Irvine on the day, as SDL supporters are likely to be using public transport to arrive there.
See the facebook event here for further info ahead of Saturday.
The following is from the North Ayrshire branch of UNISON:
North Ayrshire Branch of the trade union UNISON are calling for local people to peacefully voice their opposition to the planned presence of the SDL in Irvine this Saturday 30th July.
The SDL plan to hold a demonstration against Islamism and their call to their supporters is inflammatory and racist. Said UNISON Chairperson Colin Turbett: “This weekend the whole world was shocked and appalled at events in Norway when right wing gunman Anders Breivik murdered over 90 people in what he has described as an anti Islamic protest. He has boasted of his links with the EDL – the English version of the SDL – and says he has attended some of their demonstrations.
The EDL and SDL are denying these links but they cannot deny their shared views with the Norwegian mass murderer. Hopefully the SDL will call off their rally this Saturday out of respect for the people of Norway, but if not we should show where we stand. Racism is rare in our community but these thugs plan to change all that and inflame tensions.” UNISON are calling for people to gather from 10:15 onwards in Bridgegate.
The Scottish Defence League announced weeks ago it was having a demonstration in Glasgow on the 27th of November. It failed to do that on Saturday because it cannot organise in public. Its numbers are at best in double digits and its sickening agenda of recruiting Armed Forces members, still suffering the dreadful effects of PTSD on returning from warzones, to the far-right will not be swallowed by the people of Scotland. In fact the SDL are far too busy avoiding the relentless march of anti-fascists obstructing their rise in Scotland.
This glorified drinking club of 60 members according to its forum, which includes plenty of antifascist intelligentsia, turned up in Stirling and had a drinking session. What else do drinking clubs do? This group, which has a group photo of 33 members (including the photographer) from the Stirling knees-up, is not likely to make an impact on the Scottish political scene in any time in the near future.
We will be keeping tabs on them but the fact that they cannot organise publicly for fear of ridicule poses the question, are they really a viable threat? I answer no. Today there were 1000 EDL in Preston opposed by only 150 anti-fascists. that is a depressing statistic but goes to illustrate that the line for the North has been drawn. Scotland flatly rejects the BNP and National Front and its bedfellows the SDL. They are, at best emotionally unstable and at worst sociopaths.
In Stirling one of this pathetic mob threatened an anti-fascist with a blade. As if this was the done thing. There were police all over the area, harassing peaceful anti-fascist protestors, stopping and searching and even dishing out a Section 28 warning for calling this motley crew “muppets” but this knife incident, when reported to the police with a full description of the suspect, was not followed up. One has to wonder why the Scottish Defence League give Central Scotland Police a “Respect” on their forum when they are allowed to roam the streets waving bladed weaponry at people.
It has been confirmed that the SDL are cowering in the shadows and are unable to hold a public demonstration in Glasgow for fear of being outnumbered by the vocal majority. They plan not to demonstrate here but to travel to Stirling on Satuirday where they shall be opposed by Stirling Anti-Fascist Action. We make this emergency call out to show solidarity and boost numbers in Stirling against the SDL on St Andrew's Day. This may well be the final nail in the coffin of the SDL. Come to Queen Street Station for 830 am and be alert, stay safe and in numbers. The SDL plan to have its Glasgow supporters arive at Queen Street Station at 930 in order to assemble in Stirling. We cn catch two trains before 9am. We plan to return and attend the STUC St Andrew's Day March and Rally after defeating the SDL but we need your support. ARRIVE NO LATER THAN 8:45 TO CATCH THE 8:48 TO STIRLING. There will be legal support and first aid on standby aswell as our good friends the RMT. Return train fare: £7.70 ALERTA!
Facebook event here: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=118429338222026
The Scottish Defence League have, after withdrawing their application for a march on Saturday 6 November, re-emerged with plans for another demo later that month.
The far-right group are now claiming to be holding a ‘static demo’ on Saturday 27 November – but given that they do not need to publicly apply for such a demo, further details remain unclear.
However, SAFA can reveal that the SDL demo will fall on the same day as the STUC’s annual St Andrews Day march against racism. Whether this is intentional or not on part of the SDL, it is surely a massive own-goal for the organisation, who will be arriving in the city on the same day as thousands of anti-racists.
The SDL have shown themselves, time after time, to be both numerically and organisationally weak. Their ‘national meeting’ on 18 September was only able to attract around 20 of their supporters, and the subsequent confrontation when they tried to march on the Cenotaph in George Square saw them beaten back by groups of local youth.
If the SDL do dare to show face in Glasgow on 27 November, they can expect a similar reception to what they’ve previously faced in both Glasgow and Edinburgh: to be chased off the streets by hundreds of anti-fascists, who will not tolerate their racism and bigotry on Scotland’s streets.
Although in England the EDL have, to some extent, successfully managed to leave their Nazi baggage behind, the same cannot be said of their Scottish counterparts.
At their Kilmarnock demonstration in June this year - the SDL’s most successful outing to date (pictured)- several members of the neo-Nazi British Freedom Fighters boasted online of their attendance, which would perhaps explain the straight handed salutes that were caught on camera by anti-fascists. Their member Steph Wright of Alloa, a self-proclaimed ‘National Socialist’, has been particularly vocal in making violent (keyboard) threats towards anti-fascist activists.
It’s also worth noting that one of their key organisers, and website admin, Scott Clinton, is a member of the NF Scotland, as evidenced here:
The video below, posted on youtube recently by ‘scumwatchtv’ goes into some more detail about the SDL’s not very well disguised links with the neo-Nazi far-right, with various bits of information gleaned from facebook.
It seems that the SDL’s attempts to put up a ‘respectable’ front have been short-lived, and rather than attracting a slightly wider layer of football casuals and casual racists in the manner of the EDL, the SDL have instead just proved a magnet for outright fascists across Scotland.
A last minute mobilisation of anti-fascists yesterday saw off both the BNP and the Scottish Defence League, who both attempted to hold separate public activity in Glasgow city centre.
With fears that the SDL were attempting a ‘flash-mob’ style protest, in the vein of what the EDL organised in Oldham last weekend, SAFA activists were already keeping an eye on the city centre, when they came across the BNP setting up a stall around 1pm.
SAFA activists – plus people from left-wing stalls elsewhere in the city centre – were able to quickly mobilise to confront the BNP. Around 1.45pm, a large number of anti-fascists descended on the stall, which was kicked over and the contents of it torn up or seized. With a large crowd now gathered around, the BNP were left standing beside the ruins of their stall as up to 100 onlookers and anti-fascists chanted at them. The police showed up around 15 minutes later and attempted to gain control of the situation, but in the end were forced to remove the BNP members for their own safety.
Meanwhile, the SDL were beginning to gather in The Goose pub on Union Street. They indicated that they would heading to George Square at 5.30pm, for an assembly at the Cenotaph – their full intentions were unclear. By the time the 15 SDL supporters showed up, around 100 anti-fascists and local youth were gathered in the square. A brief confrontation ensued, with one SDL supporter arrested, alongside a 14 year old, who allegedly threw a punch in the direction of the SDL.
The SDL were denied the use of the Cenotaph, and the police were again forced to step in to remove the fascists from our streets.
All in all, a hugely successful day of direct action against fascism – let’s hope they got the message and don’t return any time soon.
There’s a group planning to demonstrate in your city. They have a history of turning up at demonstrations, fighting each other, fighting police, fighting locals and vandalising the area. They know they will not be made welcome. They’ve been applying to march for months. You stand together and get 10 000 signatures to the Home Secretary who bans all marches in the city on the day of the march. You would think the idiots would get the hint but maybe they’re just plain daft.
The idiots have been hyping this up as “The Big One” on their internet forum for almost a year. Then they turn up with only 800 bodies! A policing operation that costs several hundred thousand pounds is wasted on these people. They fight each other, fight the police and break out of the police cordon to be smashed by local youth and anti-fascist activists from around the country.
People from Stop Racism and Fascism, old heads from Red Action and the AFA along with newer recruits united with local youth to give these divisive forces a hiding they deserve. A few EDL members broke out of the police cordon intent on roaming around the city centre but were met with immediate response of a good old-fashioned hiding.
As people returned from this there was a lot of adrenaline in the air, and high spirits were hyping up ready to take on the riot police full force. Reminders of the 2001 riots jogged the locals memories. Citizens were angry. A young local woman was very angry and was ready to take on the full force of the black ops riot squad. Screaming “I want YOU to get THEM out of MY TOWN!” Calming her down I explained that after the carnage of arrests in Bolton it would give her city a bad name and that the riot police simply weren’t worth the sweat. The lady was still distressed but she, along with the locals agreed.
Chants of “We paid for your hats” and “We want our taxes back” were the order of the day, along with the more comical “EDL: Suck Our Bums” It was obvious that had there been no barricades the EDL would be non-existent through anti-racist direct action. There is no repeat of the riots of 2010 as people gather together and understand they will merely tarnish the image of a Bradford united in disgust by this pathetic attempt to divide them. Bradford was taking it easy in the sun and the police could easily have had to do a lot more work had it not been for sensible thinking at the right time. And Bradford proved she could think on her feet,
Who would want the working class to divide and spend over two million pounds of their money on policing a campaign of protests to divide people in a time of heavy cuts on the public sector? Its been over a year now, their leader has been unmasked. Its time we unmasked the idiocy apparent in the whole organisation of the English Defence League. Perhaps its the mask that makes that idiocy apparent.
As a post script, there was another demonstration amongst the melee in Bradford on the day. Here’s the report for that along with 100 others organised globally on August 28th 2010.
The English Defence League didn’t give a damn about it. Maybe they wanted to ban the lady’s burkha?